House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., questions Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire,as he testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
This is the right answer, if for no other reason than the fact that a dismissal wasn’t going to happen anyway, so you don’t want it seem like a defeat. But I’d posit that it’s the right answer to forgo a dismissal even if the votes were there to end this impeachment charade today.
Jay Sekulow, one of the President’s personal lawyers and a lead on his impeachment defense, answered some questions yesterday about their strategy and if they’d accept a motion to dismiss the charges.
Jay Sekulow, President Trump’s lawyer, said after today’s trial that he is prepared to point out errors in the presented case against the president: “At the end of the day I believe without question the President of the United States will be acquitted” https://t.co/hoTTT8ESmN pic.twitter.com/k4EOkiHnCu
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 23, 2020
“I want to let them try their case, and we want to try our case because we believe without a question the president will be acquitted,” he told reporters. “There is not a doubt.
“Those of you who know me know I don’t rule out anything. … The way the procedures are set up, at this point, here’s what I believe is going to happen: It looks like they’re going to spend tomorrow and Friday. And then I suspect that we’ll start on Saturday, and then we’ll go probably another day or two,” Sekulow continued when asked if he was ruling out the motion to dismiss.
The indication from Trump’s legal team that it will not try to dismiss the articles comes after Senate Republicans did not include a built-in motion to dismiss in their rules resolution. The Clinton rules, unlike the current resolution, included language to force a motion to dismiss after opening arguments and questions from senators.
Here’s why this is the proper path.
A dismissal of the charges would hand Democrats everything they want and essentially let them off the hook. Think of it as the equivalent of firing Mueller instead of just letting him finish his embarrassing investigation. Obviously, allowing him to finish played much more in the President’s favor than starting another scandal by firing him would have.
When it comes to impeachment, Democrats know they’ve lost. But they desperately want to paint the coming acquittal as a “cover-up” so they can use it as 2020 political fodder. Dismissing the charges hands them that talking point. All we would hear is that Republicans wouldn’t even bother to try the case, that they didn’t allow evidence to be presented, etc.
Is there a technical argument for dismissal? Absolutely there is. But sometimes you’ve got to play the game to come out the winner. After tomorrow, Schiff’s show will be over. The President will then get his chance to present his case forcefully. Then, when the final acquittal comes, it’ll carry legitimacy that wouldn’t be granted to it otherwise. Sure, the mainstream media outlets will proclaim a cover-up no matter what, but who cares? No one listens to them anyway and their audiences are a tiny fraction of the voter base.
What will last in the American psyche is that the President allowed the process to play out and was vindicated by it. So Sekulow is right. Forget about a dismissal. Let’s have this fight.